Some people say this little box of goodness has fantastic build quality. I guess if youre comparing it with todays electronics but it cant hold a candle to the portable devices Sony made in mid '90s to the mid '00s that had magnesium alloy cases and big chunky buttons and remote controls which were out of this world. The sound quality of the NW-A55 is incredible especially when loaded with MrWalkmans special firmware. In this regard it is comaprable with the sound quality of the HD amp in Sonys late minidisc players (which could do lossless atrac3 ie flac). It's clear, full and vibrant, slightly towards bassy but not boring like on some dacs which are very clear. Ive heard a lot of complaints about the NW-A55 sticking with the WM-port instead of usb but I dont think it is that bad as a wm-port to usb cable is easily found online and they're pretty inexpensive to replace if you lose the one thats supplied in the box. the WM-port is also a really simple port too with the pin layout a;llowing the output of direct audio. The bigger plug grabs onto the device better than microusb and usb-c.
On the things I realyl dont like:
- I wish the device was bigger. It's hard to hold without having your fingers touch/cover parts of the screen or be on the buttons when youre clutching the device tight when youre switching songs out on a shady street. The screen is small too and has a cramped interface with tiny text... makesit hard to scroll through and make selections in a list. The UI is laid out pretty bad too. Common things you would use are deeply buried in the menus and in non intuitive places. It shouldnt be a chore to find the bitrate of a song. It's easy to bookmark a song but can you work out how to retrieve that bookmark? Why does the briefcase change function on different screens. The menus are terribly laid out and that is sad because during the minidisc era Sony were at the top of the game on this in portables. Using this device as a usb dac is pretty useless as there is a horrible delay. I think it might be the device is slow at processing audio as the visualisation meters dont exactly match the beat of the music. So it is not good as a dac on the computer for watching movies, youtube or gaming.
-cant display cover.jpg in the song folder -cant play music videos -cant display lrc lyric files -no earphones supplied (even a very basic pair would be nice for using outdoors or completness for testing the device. -needs to rebuild song library every time it's restarted -no ogg support -battery unremoveable
On the good things: +nfc +bluetooth +radio (on all units but might be disabled. Re-enable by changing region to Australia) +unicode support without selecting a Asian region so all your Japanese song names still display correctly when Australia region is selected for example. +volume limiter can be disabled by changing the region to somewhere like Australia +sound quality is superb with MrWalkmans firmware +build quality is a two piece of carved aluminium... Apple tier. +screen and ui is responsive +easy drag and drop from the computer to load in new music +plays most music types +microsd card expansion